Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Part 1/Chapter 11

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It was morning. The forest blossomed again with daylight, and began to echo with the music of the birds. On such a joyous morning, and in such a joyous forest and inside the ashram of the Mother, Mahatma Satya sat on a deer skin deep in meditation. Jiban sat near him.

At that moment Bhavan reached the ashram with Mahendra Singh. In absolute silence the Mahatma continued his morning meditation, quite oblivious to the presence of anyone near him. The meditation over, both Bhavan and Jiban bowed to the Mahatma and sat beside him in all humility. Mahendra sat beside Bhavan. After a brief period of silence Mahatma Satya took Bhavan away. We do not know what they talked of; but they both soon returned.

'My son,' the Mahatma said to Mahendra, 'I am much moved by your sorrow. It was only by the grace of God that I was able to save your wife and child yesterday.'

The Mahatma then narrated to Mahendra the story of the rescue of his wife and child. After this he said: 'Come with me, Mahendra, I shall now take you to them.'

Mahendra, following the Mahatma, soon found himself in a spacious room with a high ceiling. The room was dark, even though the landscape outside was glowing like a diamond in the sun. At first Mahendra could not see what there was in the room. Gradually a picture revealed itself to him. It was a gigantic, imposing, resplendent, yes, almost a living map of India.

'This is our Mother India as she was before the British conquest,' the Mahatma said. 'Now say Bande Mataram.'

'Bande Mataram,' Mahendra said with much feeling.

'Now follow me, Mahendra,' the Mahatma ordered and they entered a dark tunnel to emerge into another, even darker room. Only one ray of light entered it, so it was sad and gloomy. There Mahendra saw a map of India in rags and tatters. The gloom over this map was beyond description.

'This is what our Mother India is today,' the Mahatma said. 'She is in the gloom of famine, disease, death, humiliation and destruction.'

'Why does a sword hang over Mother India of today?' Mahendra asked.

'Because the British keep India in subjection by the sword. And she can be freed only by the sword. Those who talk of winning India's independence by peaceful means do not know the British, I am sure. Please say Bande Mataram.'

Mahendra shouted Bande Mataram and bowed low in reverence with tears in his eyes.

'Follow me along this way,' the Mahatma said. They went through another dark tunnel and suddenly faced a heavenly light inside another room. The effulgence of the light was radiating from the map of a golden India — bright, beautiful, full of glory and dignity!

'This is our Mother as she is destined to be,' the Mahatma said and he in turn began to chant Bande Mataram.

Mahendra was moved. Tears flooded his eyes as he asked: 'When, O Master, when shall we see our Mother India in this garb again — so radiant and so cheerful?'

'Only when all the children of the Motherland shall call her Mother in all sincerity.'

'Where are my wife and child?' Mahendra asked quite abruptly.

'Come this way, Mahendra. You will meet them soon.'

'I want to see them but once and then say good-bye to them.'

'Why do you want to part from them?'

'I would join your order of the Children to work for the freedom of Mother India.'

'Where do you intend to send your wife and child?'

'There is no one at my home,' Mahendra said after a moment's thought. 'And I have no other place to send them. I do not know where to find a home for them in these dire days of famine and plague.'

'You may go out of the ashram the way you came in. At the gate of the ashram you will find your wife and child waiting for you. Kalyani has not eaten a morsel so far. You will find food where she is. Feed Kalyani first, and after that you may do as you please. At this time you will not see any of us anymore. If you do not change your mind, I shall appear before you in proper time.'

Mahatma Satya mysteriously disappeared. Out of the main building of the ashram, Mahendra found his wife and child seated in an adjoining pavilion.

The Mahatma, on the other hand, following a winding tunnel soon reached an underground chamber. There both Bhavan and Jiban were counting the coins from the previous night's encounter, and were arranging them in rows. The entire room was full of heaps of gold, silver and copper pieces; and piles of glistening diamonds, pearls and rubies.

'Jiban, I feel that Mahendra will join us,' the Mahatma said as he quietly entered the room. 'And it will indeed be a blessing if he joins the Children. For then the hoarded wealth of generations which he owns will be dedicated to the service of the Mother. But, do not accept him into the order until he learns to love Mother India with all his heart, mind, body and soul.

And when you both are through with this work on hand; then keep a watch on his movements. When the time is ripe, I shall do what is necessary. Meanwhile, protect them all for, just as to punish the wicked is the duty of the Children, to protect the good is also our duty.'